Don’t Forget The Sunscreen!

The Kiwi summer is well known for beautiful blue skies and lack of ozone! We love our summer but we also know that we need to protect ourselves from the sun, especially our children. But how often do you forget to apply, or especially, reapply, the sunscreen?

Lazy summer days can mean that hours slip by unnoticed until those red hues start to appear on your skin!

Parents often admit that they find the job of protecting their children from the sun challenging, particularly amongst kids under five who have a habit of squirming away or screaming at the mere sight of sunscreen. Then there’s knowing when to put it on, how much to use, and when to reapply. Even if you cover your bases for the kids’ sun protection, you often forget your own!

The facts about our use of sunscreen

survey of Kiwis n 2015 showed that:

  • 51% admitting their children have been sunburnt
  • The most common places for kids to get sunburnt were the beach or park (55%), school (23%) and home (23%).
  • 58% of Kiwis get sunburnt each year (72% for those under age 40)
  • 38% of those under age 30 sunbathe on holiday
  • 22% of males don’t use sunscreen at all

When and how to apply sunscreen

  • Protection from the sun is required when the UV levels are 3 or higher. Generally, this is between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm during summer. You can view today’s UV levels at the NIWA website.
  • Think ahead! Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow time for it to be absorbed into the skin.
  • An average-sized adult should apply at least: 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to each leg, and half a teaspoon to the face, neck and ears.
  • Every two hours, reapply sunscreen – and more often if you are swimming or sweating.
  • Combine sunscreen with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat that protects the face, head, neck and ears.
  • Avoid the midday sun and find shade whenever possible.

Tips for applying sunscreen to kids

Finding a quick and ‘whine-free’ way to apply sunscreen to your kids will make the summer go a whole lot smoother! Try these tips to find what works for you.

  • Sing a song together while you apply the sunscreen as a distraction – nursery rhymes are great for this
  • Draw patterns or images with the sunscreen before it gets rubbed in
  • Try using a make-up sponge to apply the sunscreen – some kids just love the feel of it!
  • For older kids, have them try and apply the sunscreen themselves for a bit of independence (with a final check for missed bits)
  • Try different applicators, ie roll-on, pump bottle, spray

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; NIVEA in the category Sun Care,incl. Sun Protection, Aftersun & Self Tanning; in retail value terms, 2017. Always read the label. Use only as directed.

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  1. dawnblyth 06/01/2019 at 9:38 pm

    We recently got some nivea sunscreen and its great. In and out of the water it provides excellent protection.

  2. Alezandra 04/01/2019 at 8:31 pm

    When it comes to sunscreen, I am strict about it. I have tons of freckles and burn easily. So I always remind my son to put sunscreen on before heading off to the sun. I may forget his snacks but sunscreen is my number 1 priority. The sun is deadly..sometimes we tend to shrug it off as you’ll be out for a short while only, but I know that minutes of exposure is not a good thing.

  3. Shorrty4life1 03/01/2019 at 4:10 pm

    Wow the stat’s are quite high for sunburn. I have to say the sun is very harsh here in new Zealand on our skin. I break out in a rash if I get burnt so definitely pays to use the sun screen. When we went camping we used sunscreen and still got burnt so may need to use nivea as recommended.

  4. felicity beets 01/01/2019 at 1:53 pm

    Good tips here, will have to try the make up sponge trick to see if it works. Can’t believe how many people still sunbathe

  5. kymmage 31/12/2018 at 12:58 pm

    I have no issue applying sunscreen wihh miss 11. She opts for a bucket hat, long sleeves and always applies sunscreen. Miss 6 is much harder. She doesn’t care for a hat no matter how many times I plonk it on her and she hates sunscreen too. Though she begrudgingly let’s me use it on her. Her sister tells her the reasons she has to be sun smart and I think that goes better for her than it does for me as mum knows nothing 😉

  6. SarahBlair 24/12/2018 at 4:04 pm

    When I was little I remember my brother getting terribly sunburnt to the point the he couldn’t move without being in pain and he was covered in blisters. That memory has always made me careful with my kids in the sun and at this point they have never been sunburnt!

  7. MuddledUpMolly 21/12/2018 at 5:19 pm

    The stats for males are particularly worrying!! My hubby can be very slack and I am always on him to make sure he uses sunscreen. Our kids tan but haven’t been burnt yet thankfully.

  8. Micht 18/12/2018 at 7:35 pm

    My daughters enjoy applying sunscreen and so i didnt realize other kids dont like it.. i managed to get a hold of the nivea kids roll on sunscreen which allows them to apply it themselves too… it makes it easier to carry and use and it absorbs well…

  9. Mands1980 18/12/2018 at 5:40 pm

    My gosh we had our first really hot day yesterday and I told the kids to make sure they reapplies the sunscreen it’s just so so important. They did get a wee bit burnt and were outside all day swimming and enjoying the heat and holidays. I’m going to make sure they always wear a rash vest with some protection as well as there is nothing worse than being burnt and feeling like your skin is on fire.

  10. Bevik1971 18/12/2018 at 11:57 am

    I can honestly say that my daughter who is nearly 6 has never been sunburnt. I can remember as a kid getting sunstroke and blistering from the sun, which is terrible 🙁 that was quite a few years ago and we didn’t realise how bad the sun can be and not covering up can do so much damage later in life. I ensure out daughter is covered in sunscreen and clothing, but we also just don’t go out in the sun between around 11am and 3pm 🙂

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